Model Essay February 2017 IELTS Writing Task 2 & Tips

The model essay from February 2017 was reported by IELTS students appearing in their IELTS writing task 2 test this month. It is an opinion essay, otherwise known as an agree/disagree essay or an argumentative essay. Following current topics used in 2017 is essential for success in IELTS.

Also please see that I’ve put some useful links for you at the bottom of the page to help you with your IELTS writing task 2 essay.

IELTS Essay Question February 11th, 2017 (Academic)

It is better for the students to live away from the home during their university studies rather than staying with their parents. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

IELTS Model Essay Feb 2017

While some people think that students ought to live alone whilst studying at university, it is believed by others that it is better for them to remain living at home. In my opinion, I think students benefit from living alone unless their finances prevent it.

Firstly, one of the main reasons why it is advantageous for students to live alone is that they become totally independent of their parents and able to think for themselves. University is a time for students to spread their wings and try new ideas or ways of thinking and learn to cope with making life changing decisions. By living alone, without the influence of their parents, they develop rounder, decisive characters able to function well in the world.

Another advantage to students fleeing the parental nest is that they learn to manage money. Most students see university as a stepping stone to adulthood and so by learning to live on a budget, they develop the skills needed once they are earning a salary and balancing their finances. Renting property also comes with responsibilities to both landlords and housemates, and this is a further lesson to learn in useful life skills.

Finally, however, regardless of how beneficial living alone might be for university students, it might be financially impractical for some. For a small proportion of university students, their finances might require them to stay at home for as long as possible until they are finally able to support themselves through paid work.

In conclusion, while it might not be feasible for all students, living away from parents helps university students develop strength of character and useful life skills needed for when they enter working life.

How to Write Your IELTS Essay:

  1. Spend time anaylising the essay question and brainstorming. Choose your position (your point of view) and select the best ideas. See this page about how to plan your essay properly: IELTS Essay Planning Tips
  2. aim to have either 4 or 5 paragraphs in total. See this page: How many paragraphs in an IELTS essay. Your essay MUST be over 250 words. There is no upper word count. See this page: How long should your IELTS essay be?
  3. Use a range of linking words in your essay. The examiner will mark them and it will affect your score if you spelling them wrong or if you don’t know a good range. See this page: IELTS Linking Words
  4. Before your test, prepare ideas for trending topics in IELTS this year. See this page: IELTS Essay Questions 2017. This page gives a list of essay questions used so far in 2017.
  5. The essay above is an Opinion Essay which means you need to give your opinion. See this page about how you express your opinion correctly: How to Give your Opinion in Writing Task 2
  6. If you are taking the GT test, see this page about writing differences: GT Writing Test Differences
  7. If you can’t hit the score you want in IELTS writing, GET TRAINING from an expert. Purchase my advanced lessons below to help you

Main IELTS Pages

Develop your IELTS skills with tips, lessons, free videos and more.

Maths: Reported Speaking Topic in May 2015

Maths was a reported IELTS speaking topic this month (May). It is quite common to be asked about your school days and also about the subjects you studied. Below are some questions for this topic for you to prepare and also some useful vocabulary to help you talk in more detail. This topic could also be called “calculations” or “mathematics”.

IELTS Speaking Part 1 Questions: Maths

  • Are you good at maths?
  • Did you like mathematics when you were at school?
  • What was your teacher like?
  • What kinds of things did you learn in maths?
  • Did you use a calculator when learned maths?
  • Do you find it difficult to do calculations?
  • How do you calculate difficult sums?
  • Do you think maths is an important subject for children to learn?
  • Why do you think children should learn maths?

Useful language:

  • calculate numbers / data / figures
  • adding up / addition (2 + 4 = 6)
  • subtraction / taking away (6 – 2 = 4)
  • multiplication  / multiplying numbers (multiplying = 2 x 3 = 6)
  • the multiplication table
  • division / dividing (dividing = 6 / 3 = 2)
  • long division (12,000 / 1,500 = 8)
  • estimating powers and roots for positive numbers
  • learning about decimals and fractions (decimal = 0.333 & fraction =  1/3)
  • algebra = learning about using letters and symbols in formulas
  • geometry = calculating angles in triangles or relationships between points on graphs or maps
  • proportions and rates of change
  • maths teaches people how to solve problems
  • maths teaches people how to interpret and understand data
  • maths teaches people how to do simple and complex calculations needed for everyday life

Model Answers

  • Question: Did you like maths when you were at school?
  • Answer: I enjoyed maths at the beginning doing just simple sums but I didn’t like it as much once we progressed on to complex calculations and doing algebra and things like that.
  • Question: Did you use a calculator at school for studying maths?
  • We weren’t allowed a calculator for doing sums or long division and things like that. But we were allowed to use one for geometry and other complex calculations.

Recommended for IELTS 

Education Vocabulary: Word Lists and Pronunciation

This is the essential vocabulary for education about schools, subjects, studying and university. There is an audio to listen to the pronunciation of the words. These are the most common words and collocations which you will need to learn in order to talk or write about school or university successfully. After each section of vocabulary, there are exercises for you to practice using the words.

Click here to download the PDF version of this page: Education Vocabulary PDF. Please note that the PDF does not contain the answers – you must check your answers on this page.

Educational Institutions

  • kindergarten = pre-school education
  • primary school
  • secondary school
  • college = further education
  • higher education = university education = tertiary education
  • post-graduate school = university for students studying beyond degree level

School Subjects

  • maths
  • language
  • literature
  • science
    • physics
    • biology
    • chemistry
    • natural science
  • geography
  • religious studies
  • history
  • information technology (IT)
  • physical education (PE)
  • cookery = domestic / food science
  • handicrafts
  • art
  • music


Vocabulary Exercises: School Subjects

  1. One of the reasons that I didn’t like ……………… was because of the lab work which sometimes involved dissection.
  2. I’ve always enjoyed learning about how chemicals react with one another so I decided to choose …………. as one of my main subjects.
  3. When I was a child, we practiced ………………… three times a week which was fine in summer but was freezing during the winter when you have to football or hockey outside.
  4. My teacher encouraged us to take part in ……………………… in order to develop skills beyond what is taught in scheduled lessons.
  5. I used to find complicated calculations difficult as well as algebra but when we got a new ………… teacher, it all become much easier to understand.
  6. One of my favourite subjects was …………………… because you had a chance to get out of the classroom and learn more about the environment.
  7. Teachers were really strict on ……………… in exams. The exam invigilators won’t even let you have your bag in the exam room.
  8. Poetry should be taught more in ………………. lessons in order to help students develop a deeper understanding of their language and culture.
  9. I always loved studying maps. We spent a lot of time in our ……………. lessons tracing the borders of countries and learn the capital cities of different countries.
  10. My worst subject at school was …………… because I was completely tone deaf.
  1. biology
  2. chemistry
  3. physical education
  4. extra curricular activities
  5. math’s
  6. natural science
  7. cheating
  8. literature
  9. geography
  10. music


Useful Language & Collocations

  • lab work = laboratory experiments
  • dissection = cutting up animals for scientific research
  • scheduled lessons = lessons which are planned and written into a school curriculum
  • algebra = formulas and equations in mathematics
  • to give out or assign homework / to do or complete homework
  • to complete high school / to graduate high school
  • to do, to participate or to take part in school activities or sport
  • tracing = copying, outlining in pencil
  • tone deaf = without an ear for music = unable to appreciate or hear different music and notes


Types of Schools – Same-Sex & Co-Ed Schools

Watch this video to learn the advantages or single-sex schools and the plus points of mixed schools. This video contains ideas and vocabulary to help you express your ideas clearly.

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University Vocabulary

University Courses

  • BA / BSc = Bachelor of Arts Degree / Bachelor of Science Degree
  • MA / MSc = Masters of Arts / Masters of Science
  • PhD = Doctorate

Other Courses

  • Certificate = a lower level qualification often offered at colleges rather than universites. This is also the word used the for documentation received for completing any type of course or degree (she received her certificate for her BA degree).
  • Diploma
  • Online Course
  • Distance Learning Course
  • Vocational course = a course which teaches you skills for a specific job, for example engineering.
  • Non-vocational course = a course which is not related to a job but to a general subject instead, such as Biology.


Useful Verbs & Nouns for University

  • to graduate from a university = complete a degree course / to finish university
  • to enroll on a degree course = put your name down for a degree course
  • to major in physics = to choose physics as your main subject at university
  • to attend a lecture = to go to listen to a speaker at university often with a large audience in a lecture theatre
  • to attend a tutorial = to go to a meeting with a professor usually in small group held in his/her office
  • deliver a lecture = to give a talk or presentation
  • to lecture in media studies = to talk about media studies or to teach media studies at university
  • the faculty of business = a department specialising in business at university
  • to read history = to study history
  • to do or complete coursework = doing project work or assignments as part of your course
  • undergraduate (n) = someone currently doing their first degree
  • graduate (n)  = someone who has completed a degree course
  • note-taking = being able to take notes in a lecture while the lecturer is talking
  • keeping up with the work load = being able to maintain the level of studying required
  • fall behind with studies = fail to keep pace with the school / university work


University Work

  • presentations
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • thesis
  • dissertation
  • hypothesis
  • assignment
  • project work
  • research


Vocabulary Exercises: Universities

Complete the following sentences are university education using no more than one word.

  1. People who have ……….. from university stand a better chance of finding a good job.
  2. I hope to enroll ………. a degree in law next year in the UK.
  3. There is a lot of competition to get a ……………….. but without it I won’t be able to afford the universities fees.
  4. One of the keys to successful  ……………. is knowing where to look for information and how to judge which information is most current and relevant. Knowing the best sources of materials is essential.
  1. graduated
  2. on / in
  3. scholarship
  4. research


Other Useful Vocabulary for Education

  • literate = to be able to read and write
  • illiterate = unable to read and write
  • the literacy rate = the percentage of people in a country or region able to read and write
  • comprehensive education = a well-rounded, broad education covering a variety of subjects
  • scholarship = an award of either free or supported education for high achievers
  • student loan = money taken by a student to pay for their education which they must pay back after graduating
  • pay off a student loan = to repay money borrowed for university education
  • intensive course = a course which runs over a short period of time but contains a lot of information and training
  • play truant / truancy = not attending school / being absent from school without permission
  • gap year = to take a year out between high school and university


Vocabulary Exercises: Useful Education Vocabulary

Complete the sentences using no more than two words.

  1. The rate of …………… is higher in developed countries than in under developed countries.
  2. Schools should offer a ………………… which includes subjects relating to all minority groups.
  3. The rise in university fees has led to a large proportion of students taking out ………………… which can often be difficult to pay back.
  4. Students who take a …………… often find it difficult to get back into their studies again.
  5. Rather than the government offering free university education for all people, they should, instead, ensure that a certain number of gifted individuals receive a ……………….
  1. literacy
  2. comprehensive education
  3. student loans
  4. gap year
  5. scholarship


Useful Pages for IELTS

The Function of Schools Essay Ideas

Here is an essay title about the function of schools in the development of a child:

Some people think that schools are merely turning children into good citizens and workers, rather than benefiting them as individuals. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

You can use the ideas below to help you answer the essay question.

Schools merely turn children into good citizens or workers:

  • schools teach discipline which turns children into effective workers.
  • children learn what is right and wrong in school.
  • schools instill the cultural values that are shared by society.
  • skills that enable children to succeed in the job market can first learned in school.

Schools benefit children as individuals:

  •  schools help children discover their potential.
  • children are able to choose the subjects that best suit them.
  • teachers are trained to help children understand their strengths and improve their weaknesses.
  • children can develop confidence as a person either through lessons or extra curricular activities.
  • through school education, children are able to develop an understanding about the world in which they live.


How should music lessons be funded? Sample Answer

Below is a student’s discussion essay. Read through the essay and then answer the questions below.

Some people think that the government should fund music, dance and arts lessons for children. Others think that they should be funded by private businesses or by children’s families. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Student Essay 

It is argued in the statement that government should contribute in music, dance and arts learning of the children whereas many others think that it is the responsibility of parents or local organisations to support these programs. In my opinion, the above mentioned subjects should be aided by the concerning and governing bodies of a state.

On the one hand, it is often thought by many people that government of a state should contribute in learning of arts and cultural subjects such as music and dance for the children. For example, in some secondary schools, government provides material required in the construction of different art projects or instruments like guitar and keyboard to learn music. This example clearly shows that by providing support to the young students, government could easily promote cultural and traditional values all around the world. Hence, governments are responsible for the growth of arts and music.

On the other hand, according to some people, instead of governing bodies, children’s families or private agencies should participate in the growth and learning of music, dance or other arts work. For instance, students of a single class may not be equally interested in learning music or dance, so funding by the government could be wasted in this manner. Therefore, it is important that parents of interested kids should groom their children by sending them to the private institutions where they can enjoy their preferences. In this way, funds by the government can be utilized well on some other things.

To conclude, I believe that government should provide all the facilities of learning arts and music, as this is the cultural heritage which should be preserved internationally.


  1. Does the student give a clear opinion? What is their opinion? Answer
    The answer is given quite well. The student believes the government should pay for the lessons. However, the vocabulary is not completely clear “the concerning and governing bodies of a state.” The word “concerning” is irrelevant and is slightly confusing. The thesis statement should be very clear and vocabulary 100% accurate so only write about the government.
  2. Is the information in the introduction relevant?Answer
    Yes, the information given is mostly relevant. There is no unnecessary information given. There is a background statement and a thesis statement. However, the introduction could be improved by using more precise vocabulary. For example, the students wrote “government should contribute in music, dance and arts learning” but this essay is about money and funding not just contributing. Again in the thesis statement the student writes “should be aided” but this essay is not about giving help, it’s about money. “The student is trying to avoid repeating the word “funding” but it should be repeated – you can get a band score 9 even with that word repeated. Another way to say it is “pay for”.
  3. What reasons are given in the essay for the government to fund lessons in school? Can you think of other reasons?Answer
    The ideas are not completely clear but they are that the government can pay for equipment and can help in the growth of the arts. This could be written more clearly “One reason for government funding is that the government has more financial resources to pay for expensive equipment needed to run top quality classes. Another benefit of state funded lessons is that they can help promote these subjects on a wider scale.” Thes e are the main reasons. 
  4. What reasons are given in the essay for lessons to be privately funded? Are they correct? Can you think of more?Answer
    The reasons are that students are not all equally interested in art or music and another reason is that students can enjoy their preferences in private lessons. These are good reasons but in this paragraph there is also disadvantages of government funding – that is not needed in this paragraph. This paragraph should be about private funding only. Other reasons why privately funded lessons are better – 1. teachers can adapt lessons to suit the individual learner 2. the time and length of lesson is more flexible 3. classes are either individual or one-to-one so there’s more feedback and support
  5. Can you find an example of non academic words?Answer
    Yes, the word “kid”. This student is worried about repeating the word “children” and it over paraphrasing. Children are children – the word will be repeated. “kid” is not academic. Also the word “like” used as a linking device is not academic. 
  6. What band score would you give this essay?Answer
     The essay structure is excellent. The ideas are mostly relevant. It would probably get about 6.5. It could get band score 7 if the vocabulary was more accurate and the student wrote about funding rather than helping.
  7. What advice would you give this student to improve?Answer
    Don’t try to paraphrase all words. Decide which words can and cannot be paraphrase accurately. Also don’t change the meaning of the essay. Over paraphrasing is as problematic as under paraphrasing. This essay is about funding not about contributing or aiding. Underline the key words in the essay question and always make sure you are answering them.

Single-Sex Schools Vs Mixed Schools

Learn useful ideas to talk about the advantages or single-sex and mixed sex schools. This topic can appear in IELTS writing task 2:

Some people think that children perform better in a single-sex school compared to a mixed school. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Single-Sex and Co-educational Schools

If you don’t have youtube, try listening to a recording of the video. Audio


IELTS Speaking Part 2 Topic: A Place to Learn

Here is a topic card for speaking part 2. What place would you choose to talk about? Remember to choose a place that you know well and can easily talk about for 2 minutes. Make sure that the place you choose matches all prompts on the card.

a place to learn 2
Answers: click below to see some ideas of places you could choose

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